Jared’s Clearance and the Foreign Policy Version of Conspiracy to Defraud America

I confess there is no multi-day Trump story I’ve looked forward to more than the problem with Jared Kushner’s clearance. And it is officially here. Last night, the NYT described how Jared is butting heads with John Kelly over whether he’ll lose clearance under Kelly’s post-Rob Porter mandate that people who can’t be cleared won’t be kept around anymore.

Kushner, frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access, the officials said. In the talks, the officials say, Mr. Kushner has insisted that he maintain his current level of access, including the ability to review the daily intelligence briefing when he sees fit.

Today CNN and WaPo weigh in, with CNN nodding towards the conflict this will present Trump.

Though a source familiar with the situation said Kushner has not yet appealed to the President directly about his access to highly classified information, those close to Trump believe he would be inclined to grant his son-in-law access if asked. This source pointed to the fact that Kushner is part of the President’s family and has outlasted all of his rivals in Trump’s inner circle, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager David Bossie.

Trump, however, has given Kelly his full support in efforts to reform the White House’s system of security clearances, and has told his chief of staff that changes need to be made to bring the system into order, according to a person who has spoken to him about the matter. Kelly has interpreted that as a wide-ranging mandate that would include Kushner, a person familiar with the matter said. The person said Trump and Kelly would likely discuss the matter this week, if they haven’t already, before Kelly’s self-imposed Friday deadline.

WaPo brings the appropriate level of skepticism over whether Kushner can really do his Fake Peace Plan job without clearance.

It is not clear how Kushner could perform his job without a high-level security clearance.

He holds a broad range of responsibilities, from overseeing peace efforts in the Middle East to improving the efficiency of the federal government. And he is the administration’s interlocutor with key allies, including China and Saudi Arabia, where he has developed a personal relationship with the young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.


And apart from staff on the National Security Council, he issues more requests for information to the intelligence community than any White House employee, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

More importantly, WaPo includes a series of false bravado quotes from Jared’s defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, who bizarrely offered up his judgement that Jared is speaking with foreign officials “properly.”

“My inquiries to those involved again have confirmed that there are a dozen or more people at Mr. Kushner’s level whose process is delayed, that it is not uncommon for this process to take this long in a new administration, that the current backlogs are being addressed, and no concerns were raised about Mr. Kushner’s application,” he said in a statement.


Lowell said Kushner’s job is “to talk with foreign officials, which he has done and continues to do properly.”

I’ve come to think of Kushner’s clearance process in similar terms to the way I’ve thought of the bail process Mueller has used with Paul Manafort and Rick Gates: While Gates ultimately did make bail, Manafort is still (!) almost four months after his arrest, struggling to show enough liquidity free of taint from his money laundering to alter his release conditions. The process of making bail (and having to serially beg to attend his kids’ soccer events) seems to have been one of the factors that brought Gates to the point of flipping, but along the way, he probably gave Mueller’s team far more leverage in plea negotiations, because they know how little Gates actually has to pay a defense attorney to oversee the flip (indeed, that may lie behind the confusion over Gates’ current legal representation).

Kushner’s liquidity problems are literally an order of magnitude greater than these men. But unlike them, he made the idiotic decision to work in the White House, and thereby to undergo the scrutiny of sworn statements laying out all the financial vulnerabilities and foreign entanglements that might make him susceptible to blackmail.

Which brings me back to my description of how Mueller is leveraging “conspiracy to defraud the United States” (what I will henceforward refer to as ConFraudUS*) charges to prosecute political influence peddling for which our regulatory system has completely collapsed. With the Internet Research Agency indictment, Mueller charged ConFraudUS because the trolls bypassed a campaign finance system that no longer works. With Manafort and Gates, Mueller charged ConFraudUS because they bypassed Foreign Agents Registration Act requirements that have never been enforced.

In the old days, to pursue the kind of quid pro quo we see outlines of, in which Trump officials (from George Papadopoulos’ proposed business with Sergei Millian to the possibility Kushner might get bailed out by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is itself a cut-out for the sanctioned Vnesheconombank, whose head, Sergey Gorkov, Kushner met in December 2016), you’d pursue bribery. But post-Bob McDonnell, bribery is a far tougher charge to make stick, as Mueller prosecutor Andrew Goldstein, who worked on the Sheldon Silver prosecution team, knows well.

What if, however, you could charge people whose meetings seamlessly tie the foreign policy decisions of the United States with discussions of their own financial interests, with ConFraudUS? That might make it easier to charge someone whose foreign policy decisions don’t serve the US interest but might enrich them for the quid pro quo entailed.

Which is why I’m interested in the report that Mueller has shown increased interest (almost certainly tied to Steven Bannon’s public pronouncements that, “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit”) in Jared’s foreign financial dealings, how he has mixed his business interests and US foreign policy.

One line of questioning from Mueller’s team involves discussions Kushner had with Chinese investors during the transition, according to the sources familiar with the inquiry.
A week after Trump’s election, Kushner met with the chairman and other executives of Anbang Insurance, the Chinese conglomerate that also owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, according to The New York Times.

At the time, Kushner and Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, were close to finishing a deal for the Chinese insurer to invest in the flagship Kushner Companies property, 666 Fifth Avenue. Talks between the two companies collapsed in March, according to the Times.

Mueller’s team has also asked about Kushner’s dealings with a Qatari investor regarding the same property, according to one of the sources. Kushner and his company were negotiating for financing from a prominent Qatari investor, former prime minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, according to The Intercept. But as with Anbang, these efforts stalled.

Lowell’s false bravado in this report is even more ridiculous than that in the clearance stories.

A representative for Kushner declined to comment prior to the publication of this story. After publication, Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell told CNN in a statement, “Another anonymous source with questionable motives now contradicts the facts — in all of Mr. Kushner’s extensive cooperation with all inquiries, there has not been a single question asked nor document sought on the 666 building or Kushner Co. deals. Nor would there be any reason to question these regular business transactions.”

Lowell may not have turned over any documents relating to 666 Fifth Avenue. But Deutsche Bank got subpoenas even before Bannon started running his mouth (albeit in a separate EDNY probe). Moreover, the key detail under my imagined ConFraudUS charge would be whether Kushner did things — like try to get Chinese investors visas — that didn’t serve or indeed violated the interests of the United States. Admittedly, the President gets largely unfettered control over the foreign policy of the United States (though Trump has defied Congress in areas where they do have some control). But to the extent Jared pursued his own business interests during the transition, he wouldn’t be able to claim to rely on presidential prerogative.

Which brings me back to Jared’s long struggle to get a security clearance.

Abbe Lowell may not have turned over the financial documents on 666 Fifth Avenue that would show how susceptible Jared’s debt woes make him to foreign influence. But he has serially provided that evidence in support of Jared’s almost certainly futile attempt to convince the FBI he should get a permanent TS/SCI security clearance.

I laid this out yesterday at the very end of my Democracy Now appearance:

I think—the reason why Kushner’s business deals are important, we’ve talked—and in the intro, this wasn’t the only example of—there’s the Don Jr. We’ve talked about how poorly Trump’s people have separated his business interests from the interests of the country. The same is even more true for Jared Kushner, whose family business is basically bankrupt. And over and over again, he’s been shown to be in negotiations with entities, including Russians, but also Chinese and Middle Eastern. So, you know, he’ll go in and say, “OK, we’ll talk about this grand peace plan,” which is not about peace at all, “but, oh, by the way, can you bail out our 666 Park Avenue building, which is badly underwater?” And I think Mueller could make the same argument he’s made with the IRA indictment and the Manafort indictment, and say that Jared Kushner is pretending to be serving America’s foreign policy interests, but in fact he is just doing his own bidding. He’s just trying to bail out his own company. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s moving towards a very similar indictment on conspiracy to defraud the United States, having to do with his conflicts of interest.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, interesting that Kushner also hasn’t managed to get top security clearance, when he’s a senior adviser to President Trump, as Porter didn’t because he beat his wives, etc. And then you’ve got Donald Jr. now in India promoting Trump businesses, as, of course, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. And he’s standing with the prime minister of India as he does this, promoting the Trump brand, Marcy.

MARCY WHEELER: Exactly. I mean, if Trump and his son and his son-in-law are pretending to be doing the business of the United States but are instead just trying to enrich themselves, again, I don’t think it’s a—you know, we’ve talked about the Emoluments Clause and how you go after the Trump campaign—the Trump officials for their egregious conflicts of interest. And, frankly, it extends into his Cabinet. But what Mueller seems to be doing, with some very good appellate lawyers, by the way, is to be laying out this framework that if you are pretending to be doing something in the interest of the United States but are actually doing something else, serving somebody else’s bidding, whether it’s Russia, pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, or whether it’s your own family business, then they’re going to go after you for a conspiracy charge. And I wouldn’t be surprised if these conspiracy charges all kind of link up at the end, in this kind of grand moment of—I think that’s where he’s headed.

Remember, Trump and his spawn never really thought they’d win the election. Instead, they seemed interested in, among other things, a Trump Tower in Moscow and refinancing 666 Fifth Avenue. But if they made deals with Russians in hopes such personal financial benefits would result, a ConFraudUS charge might be a way to prosecute them for it.

*I originally shortened this “CTDTUS,” but following Peter Crowley’s suggestion, I’m instead using “ConFraudUS.”


[Note: At the top of this post there is an embedded video of Marcy’s interview with Democracy Now. It isn’t rendering properly on all browsers and operating systems and may appear as a blank space. You can watch the video or listen to audio at this link. /~R]

127 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It seems obvious that no one, Kushner included, could do a job of any importance inside the White House without a high-level security clearance. The argument seems to be a red herring, distracting from how badly this WH bungles the clearance process (and much else.) From an earlier thread:

    Poor Jared.  He wants to keep the security clearance that isn’t his.  He has an interim, not a permanent, clearance.  It is a privilege, not a right.  There are rules one must comply with to keep it.  Pshaw.

    Mr. Kushner is moaning about COS Kelly’s crack down on the clearance abuses that, after a year, permit 130 odd staffers in the West Wing to remain on the job with only an interim clearance, 47 of them with access to the president.  That would include Jared and Ivanka, and the recently departed Rob Porter, alleged wife beater.  That’s an unusual situation, suggesting that the president has little regard for national security, process or the law.  (I know, it’s Donald.)

    Gen. Kelly is rightfully responding, in his gently, gently fashion, to the clearance uproar that reared up behind the Rob Porter wife beating allegations.  He’s attempting to calm the natives and impose some sort of order.  In doing so, he specifically exempted Jared and Ivanka from his fix.  “He” has “full confidence” in Jared, as he did in Rob Porter.  What COS Kelly means is that as long as the Don needs his daughter and Jared in the White House, Gen. Kelly will have full confidence in them.

    Debt, greed and sex are the top reasons people violate their commitments.  Jared seems to have more control over his libido than his let it all hang out as long as you grab it father-in-law.  But he does have a money problem.  About a billion dollar one, principally from his family’s investment in the aptly named 666 Fifth Avenue building.  They bought it for about $1.8 billion.  It’s badly underwater.  The Kushners’ credit lines are tapped out.  And despite their political connections to the guy in the White House, they are having trouble refinancing it.

    Many have pointed out that gives Mr. Kushner a troublesome conflict of interest.  It has the appearance of one, the usual standard.  Donald has him doing all sorts of international thingies he can’t be bothered with, such as fixing the Middle East.  It puts him in negotiations with all sorts of people, Jewish billionaires, Arab princes, corporate moguls, who could readily refinance his troubled investment.  Elsewhere, that’s the sort of conflict that brings down governments.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      And this:

      According to Hirschfeld Davis and Haberman:

      Mr. Kushner, frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access….

      Of course Gen. Kelly is targeting Jared Kushner “personally”.  As he should, along with anyone else who reads the president’s daily brief, who attends whatever White House meetings he wants to or the president can’t be bothered to attend, and who travels at government expense across the globe.  Anyone who does that on an interim clearance that is not going to become permanent ought to be watched, or ejected from the building.

      Hundred millionaires ambling down Fifth Avenue wearing I am a Victim sandwich boards are a dime a dozen.  Louise Linton can do it in stiletto heels.  Get ready for a Faux Noise extravaganza about why, under a GOP president, the security clearance process is deeply flawed and how complying with it should not hinder our Dear Leader in having whomever he wants advise and help him to Make America Great Again ™.

    • Michael says:

      “[…] [Kushner’s] investment in the aptly named 666 Fifth Avenue building. ”

      Here, and in two(?) articles elsewhere, I see “666 5th Avenue”. I also have read, both on this blog and elsewhere, that Kushner’s folly is located at “666 Park Avenue”. Are both correct?

    • robert harding says:

      When there was outrage at some Shakespearean director that presented Julius Caesar with the title character dressed as Trump, I thought that the director showed a weak understanding of the bard’s themes, what with Lear’s downfall coming from a meeting of underlings commanded to offer the greatest sycophantic praise they could muster.

      But, now, I don’t understand why there isn’t a production of Jarry’s Ubu Roi in every major city.

  2. peter crowley says:

    May I humbly suggest that, instead of “CDTUS”, you use “FraudUS”? Easier to remember, and a reminder that WE are victims of this fraud. If you feel it is essential to incorporate a reference to Conspiracy, “ConFraudUS” has a nice evocation.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    We’ve talked about how poorly Trump’s people have separated his business interests from the interests of the country. The same is even more true for Jared Kushner, whose family business is basically bankrupt.

    I thought yesterday that that was pithy, understated, easy to understand but almost Kissinger-like in density of thought.  Thanks.

    • Winston says:


      Is there any backup for the assertion that the Kushner family business is near bankrupt?

      Even assuming the worst on the 666 Fifth Avenue disaster, there is a chance the business is still very much in the black.

      There is also the separate issue of the family’s personal wealth that is held outside of the business, which also may be quite substantial.

      The information I have seen that is publicly available — admittedly not much — is too non-specific to conclude anything about bankruptcy with high (or really any) confidence.

      Think the bankruptcy motive would otherwise be compelling. And I suppose that, bankruptcy or not, greed may be a sufficient motive in its own rite.

      • bmaz says:

        Oh. Hi!

        You claim to have reviewed the “publicly available information”.

        Would you care to cite that, or just going to pitch this contrarian view as per your first three comments here?

        • Winston says:

          Interesting the burden would be on me.  I think Marcy is great and really appreciate her analysis, notwithstanding your suggestion to the contrary.


          –  Price paid for 555 in 2008:  $1.8 billion.

          –  1st partial divestiture:  $525 million

          –  2nd partial divestiture:  $80 million

          Things we do not know that would be essential to determine the effect of a foreclosure on 666 Fifth on Kushner’s family business:

          –  residual value of building:  ?

          –  Are the terms of the financing non-recourse or recourse (meaning are all the company’s assets on the hook if the lenders foreclose on the mortgage or is the lender’s recourse limited to the building itself):  ?

          –  Value of other assets in Kushner portfolio (assuming mortgage is full recourse and residual value of building cannot cover the current $1.4 billion mortgage):  ?

          Second link that doesn’t really add much other than suggesting potentially substantial wealth not related to Kushner family business:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/chloesorvino/2016/12/18/jared-josh-kushner-fortune-donald-trump-real-estate/#1a0bdd542f42

          In preparing this reply, I did look at a third article, which seems to be the most comprehensive article on the topic (and which I hadn’t seen prior to my initial post) — https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-kushners-china-deal-flop-was-part-of-much-bigger-hunt-for-cash/.   I haven’t read this article carefully but the descriptions strongly suggest that the building wasn’t financed on a non-recourse basis.  This also mentions additional partial divestitures not discussed in the New York Times article.

          As you can see, this is not a simple issue and had expended some effort before asking the question.  Again, if there is something that folks are aware of it that is more direct (rather than requiring me to connect a lot of dots) I would appreciate a source so I can look at it.

          Also, not for nothing, but had let sleeping dogs lie earlier but now that you made waste all this time what’s another minute.  Your reply to my second comment — where you suggested that Avattoir was in a better position to know the meaning of what he wrote — is kind of ironic given the careful reading emphasized in Marcy’s analysis.  Avattoir may have been in a better position to know what he meant to write but don’t think you are seriously suggesting that he is in a better position to know what the plain meaning is of something that he wrote.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes. Thanks. And I absolutely think Avatoir is better situated to state what he wrote and meant than you. And your continuing determination that you know better is absurd.

          • Michael says:

            “Price paid for 555 in 2008: $1.8 billion.”
            “[…] the effect of a foreclosure on 666 Fifth on Kushner’s family business”

            Jeez, Lou-ise! Kushner bought *three* properties, each at USD1.8B?! (“555”; “666 Fifth”; 666 Park Avenue) Ivanka needs to hide Jared’s credit cards.

  4. lefty665 says:

    Expect Kelly has had a bellyful of Jared. Seems reasonable he might make the clearance a hard point with Trump. OTOH, is he better off with Jared in the open, knowing what he has access to, or having it happening behind the scenes with Trump?  Not enviable choices, but then Kelly chose his retirement tour so it is hard to have too much sympathy for him.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      No sympathy at all.  Kelly is enabling views he agrees with: he’s Boston Irish and came of age during the busing riots.  He just wishes Trump were better at it, and that he’d be out of bed and coherent before last post, which is about when the Don goes to bed again.

  5. Trip says:

    Let’s not forget that Mr. “Middle East Peace-Maker” also has financial ties to Israel:

    Jared Kushner By Day: Mideast Peace. Kushner Companies By Night: Donating to a West Bank Settlement.
    The Kushner family has given money in past years to the group, which funds construction of the Bet El settlement outside the Palestinian city Ramallah, as Haaretz first reported. But this appears to be the first time they’ve done so while Kushner, whose title is senior adviser to the president, is the lead administration official brokering a peace plan.The Kushner Companies donation to Bet El comes at a time when Jared Kushner is under scrutiny for his unsuccessful effort last December to block a United Nations resolution to condemn Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank.

    Jared Kushner’s company under renewed scrutiny over Chinese and Israeli deals
    According to the New York Times Kushner’s company received an investment nearing $30m from Menora Mivtachim, one of Israel’s largest insurers, in the spring of 2017, shortly before the president and his son-in-law visited the country. According to the report, the funds were directed into a Maryland development.


  6. Bay State Librul says:

    This is gonzo politics at its best.
    Hunter S. Thompson would be besides himself, ala “Fear and Loathing in DC”
    “The only difference between the sane and the insane is that the sane have the power to lock up the insane”

  7. Jake says:

    Why not call it what it really is “conspiracy to defraud the United States because the Intelligence Community and Mainstream Media didn’t get the president they wanted.”

    If it was a crime to pretend to be serving the interests of the United States while actually serving the interests of yourself or others, why wouldn’t every senator and representative be charged? Isn’t there an entire of industry in Washington called Lobbying that involves handing out buckets full of cash so their interests get favored over national ones?

    These indictments are very thin… if Mueller and the IC think they can get rid of the Trump administration based on this made up theory of a crime, in my opinion, they are sorely mistaken.

      • Jake says:

        well I’m sorry that I’ve just been reading Emptywheel and not posting…. so you are accurate I’m a first time commenter.

        and second, I guess since my opinion doesn’t conform to yours, that makes me a troll?

        you expose yourself with ad hominem attacks… I’ll leave it at that.

        • Anne says:

          You are engaging in “whataboutism”.  That’s a trump troll tactic and one of trump’s methods of topic obfuscation and diverting accountability.  Also, your opinions are not on trial, but decide now if you believe a president (and family), is above the law and then accept the consequences of living in a country where certain people are above the law.

        • bmaz says:

          You can leave it wherever you want, Jake, but when you issue words like:

          Why not call it what it really is “conspiracy to defraud the United States because the Intelligence Community and Mainstream Media didn’t get the president they wanted.”

          you prove yourself to be somewhat of a clown. So, take your “ad hominem” complaint tripe to a different place. By the way, can you tell me more about your vast knowledge of “indictments”?

          • Jake says:

            Never said I had some vast knowledge of the indictments….unlike you I am not an attorney… just read the indictments when they got posted online… understood what I could of them because, again, not an attorney.  So maybe I don’t understand the nuanced arguments Mueller is making about how a Russian troll farm broke the law…other than the phony paypal account stuff.

            But I have followed a lot of the coverage of this story and what you call “clownish” I just thought as being sorta clever… but clearly that failed because you decided to bring the hammer down and name-call from the get-go,

            Since apparently you are, dare I say, the pitbull of EW, I guess I will just unbookmark empty wheel.net and unfollow on Twitter because you really are quite unpleasant and life it truly too short to waste time on nasty people.

            • Desider says:

              It’s been 2+ years of “wasted time” from deceitful and gullible people. If we’d had more pitbulls on blogs and in the MSM, we might not be in such a mess. But Emptywheel is also special – enough lawyers with reasonable values and energy to parse the legal system and its twists & turns for the rest of us – includinging counter-progressive interpretations where they feel the facts warrant – a largely koolaid-free zone.
              I spend enough time at other blogs that get sidetracked with unserious speculation and inability to Google – I’m in general grateful for the lack of clutter here.

    • emptywheel says:

      You do know that lobbyists file disclosure forms, and if they don’t there are legal consequences? So your counterexample actually proves my point.

      • Jake says:

        yes, I understand Lobbyist’s have to disclose and despite what other commenters may think, I am no fan of Trump.  I just believe that you can’t indict a president, you can only impeach him.

        The idea that it is a criminal conspiracy to post on social media platforms in favor of one candidate over another and not disclosing you are not a citizen at the time…well, wouldn’t that scoop up everyone who commented on Facebook that “I’m with Her” or “MAGA” what wasn’t a citizen at the time of posting it?  Or the idea that you posted in favor of Trump but deep down in your heart, you were really just trying to mess with our election… isn’t that an Orwellian Thought Crime?

        Been reading EW for quite a while but I’m afraid I find the Mueller investigation to tepid at best but again, I guess I’m a clown troll.

        • Trip says:

          The troll farm was a foreign organization with paid participants, whose goal was to politically polarize on emotional trigger issues, and eventually shift toward largely injuring one candidate, for national gain. I think that shifts it into a lobbying entity, versus a bunch of random (foreign or domestic) people stating opinions. (Aside from the identity theft, wire and bank fraud).

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          This is the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ argument towards any and all dirty tricks in elections, which says more about certain Americans’ expectations of free and fair elections than anything else.

  8. Willis Warren says:

    I like the creativity of the charges, and how they’ll end up encompassing the election rigging, money laundering, and basic douchebaggery of using the office to get rich.  I don’t know if this SCotUS will care, though, should it bounce that far.  It would be wonderful if Neil Gorsuch was the deciding vote, although it would probably be Roberts before him.

  9. pseudonymous in nc says:

    “Manafort is still (!) almost four months after his arrest, struggling to show enough liquidity free of taint from his money laundering to alter his release conditions.”

    And the process of trying to do so has probably left him even deeper in the shit, which (as bmaz hinted) may have been part of Team Mueller’s plan, given that they could have asked for a full accounting early on.

    ConFraudUS also potentially encompasses whatever happened between the NRA and Torshin’s bullshit Russian gun group. This is a strategy that faces a potential threat from those who say it’s “criminalizing politics” but it’s a testament to how politics has been, um, criminalized for a long time, whether it’s the rich unaccountable influence-peddlers of McLean, VA or the sloshing-around of money.

    • Desider says:

      Yeah, when people said Manafort’s bail should be revoked, I speculated it was more worth it letting him walk about and follow his sloppiness to gather evidence.

  10. Nick says:

    I don’t have information on when anyone’s debts come due (no doubt it is available to others), but if I saw in someone else’s plight the opportunity to trade refinancing/solvency in exchange for government information and/or favors, it makes sense that I’d want to leverage that need and string it out for as long as possible, demanding more and more as default time approaches. The relief comes at the end, if at all, by which time the target has been so deeply compromised that there is no backing out. The target, of course, would need to maintain a security clearance for the flow of information/favors to continue.
    As far as the means of sharing information when face-to-face meetings aren’t feasible, might not that be accomplished by something as commonplace in the business world (and seemingly innocuous) as the periodic backup of a server? ConFraudUS.

    • matt says:

      You’d have to tie known members of foreign govt. + Kushner meetings back to refinancing deals- he’s stupid… but that stupid?  Nick is right, Trump and Co could “give away the farm” in information only and unnoticed policy decisions without ever violating sanctions or emoluments.  Also, since they are already compromised… what they are getting in return is not getting killed or not having the real smut/kompromat disclosed to the world.  The shear volume of “little illegal shit” has totally numbed the American populace,  and so far the Right couldn’t care less.  I waiting, waiting, waiting for BIG incontrovertible wrongdoing that not even my Make America Great Again hat wearing neighbors and Faux News could refute.

      • Desider says:

        Is that the same FBI that speculated Trump wasn’t under investigation the week before election, and that there was enough Hillary dirt like pedophilia on Weiner’s laptop to put her away? I would prefer the FBI just STFU and if anything to say, say it in DoJ referrals.

  11. dalloway says:

    If Mueller’s charges culminate solely in ConFraudUS, won’t Drumpf and Co. make the Bob McDonnell argument, that defrauding the country of “honest services” is not a crime because “honest services” is too vague to be a crime and that many other factors (like rabid partisanship) prevent election laws from being enforced?  And won’t they argue that seeking personal enrichment while simultaneously doing the country’s business is simply “wearing two hats” and the two never overlapped?  I think Mueller will have to prove money-laundering, tax evasion and quid pro quo, Russian money poured into the Drumpf campaign and in-kind cyber help exchanged for specific actions taken on behalf of Russia that were contra U.S. interests.  Otherwise, besides slaps on the wrist for violating campaign finance laws, SCOTUS will eventually let all below Drumpf skate and Republicans in Congress will use it as an excuse not to convict in an impeachment trial.  Yes, state charges for money-laundering might stick, but only after Drumpf leaves office.

    • bmaz says:

      Is this all you have? Really?

      Specifics are laid out here daily, and have been from the start.

      If all you have are rote generalities, and calling him “Drumph”, exactly what is it you are offering? This is like the commenter(s) that insisted on calling Hillary Clinton “the Red Queen”. It is insipid and asinine. Don’t waste electrons here with that stupid crap.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think every ConFraudUS charge will be accompanied with more traditional legal charges, as they have thus far. So with Manafort it’s ConFraudUS and money laundering, with IRA it’s ConFraudUS and wire fraud and identity theft.

  12. bloopie2 says:

    Following up on Bay State Librul.
    “The process of making bail (and having to serially beg to attend his kids’ soccer events) seems to have been one of the factors that brought Gates to the point of flipping, but along the way, he probably gave Mueller’s team far more leverage in plea negotiations, because they know how little Gates actually has to pay a defense attorney to oversee the flip (indeed, that may lie behind the confusion over Gates’ current legal representation).”
    Ah, yes.  Is this Good Justice at work, or Bad Justice at work?  Glenn Greenwald has recently been promoting viewing of a segment (on CNN?) where the host and the guest literally are laughing while they assert that US intervention in foreign elections is acceptable because it is always done “for a good cause”.  Where are our moral standards here?  Do we believe that it is acceptable to keep someone in jail, who is likely not a flight risk, in order to force him to “turn traitor”?

    • emptywheel says:

      Any brown defendant, charged with just a fraction of what Gates has been, would probably be sitting in jail. Reality Winner, who allegedly leaked one document show how Gates’ President may have been helped by Russians, is sitting in jail.

      Thus far, Mueller has been more than fair about the bail discussions with Gates and Manafort.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The US has frequently interfered in foreign elections, although its actions were typically hidden for decades, at least from the American public.  That its interference – to overturn elections or to put in place its own designees – was “for a good cause” is the standard mythology.  Those on the receiving end of it, barring local elites empowered and enriched by it, rarely agreed with that self-serving claim.  Many Americans reject it entirely.

      Moral standards do not often apply when states pursue their foreign policies.  They usually describe themselves as pursuing “interests”, not morals. As is obvious, most recently in the right’s hyperbolic reaction to Florida students’ demands for gun control legislation – after the murder of 17 of their peers and teachers – morals are also not much in vogue in domestic politics. Donald Trump played golf.

      As for the way the domestic criminal justice and prosecutorial systems work in general, you’ll have to ask bmaz.  Polite forms of extortion seem frequent.  As for Gates, he is far from a typical defendant and is being treated with kid gloves compared to the average person.

      As for Manafort, he seems to have more financial support and more at risk, given his decades of working for clients that not even God would forgive.  He also is being treated well.  Both he and Gates are abundant flight risks.  Manafort, for example, has more than one passport – that the Feds know about.  He is no naif in the underworld; he’s quite at home there.

      • Desider says:

        The US also helped promote democracy in Georgia, Ukraine (orange revolution), Yugoslavia, Poland (backing Solidarnosc), and giving way to an unpalatable Muslim group in Egypt despite its druthers, while Russia was helping sow confusion in Barcelona, Brexit, Hungarian and Montenegran elections, Syrian peacekeeping/assault on ISIS, and of course ripping away Crimea and supporting breakaway in Donbas. This isn’t a vacuum, and decisions are seldom easy.

    • Palli Davis Holubar says:

      Just to throw in some real world context, this “do we believe that it is acceptable to keep someone in jail, who is likely not a flight risk” is a sore point. Our judicial system keeps people in jail regularly for not having $50 bucks cash bail…for days…weeks…for broken tail lights, parking tickets, speeding etc.  “Where are our moral standards here?”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      We don’t interfere only in elections.  We’ve spent decades toppling leftist labor unions, a twofer, since USG policy in practice was to trample down unions and “communists”, meaning any organized group to the left of Genghis Khan.  The docks in Marseilles were in the hands of the Italian mob for decades after WWII because we put them there to displace a leftist union.  French Connection ring a bell?  The film was based on a real drugs pipeline.

      We interfere for reasons of pique, too.  Iranian and Guatemalan democracies upset John Foster Dulles’s clients.  He helped them out, but not for his direct financial benefit.

      Jared Kushner on the other hand, orchestrated the collective punishment of Qatar last year.  He did so very shortly after Qatar’s deal with Kushner’s dad – to put up half of the refinancing for 666 Fifth Avenue – fell through because Kushner pere couldn’t find the $500 million other half.

      “Left in the lurch, we now know that Jared Kushner just weeks later devised a plan with Saudi Arabia to form a coalition with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain to jump Qatar, an unexpected move given the Qatari emir had joined Trump in Riyadh just weeks before the blockade started, where no issues were raised with Qatar about any of its policies or relationships.

      “Trump publicly took credit for the diplomatic attack on Qatar, and when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to walk it back, Trump doubled down.”

      Mr. Mueller now wants to know if the surprise retaliation against Qatar was retaliation for its failure to help refinance 666 Fifth Avenue.  Conspiracy to defraud the US of honest services is adding meat to its bones.  It’s beginning to look like rump steak, maybe prison hash.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Probably not.  But what’s the story line you’re pursuing?  Kushner didn’t want Qatar to sell down its minority stake in Rosneft, or to sell it to a major Chinese investment company, and he orchestrated a regional boycott to express his discontent?  Or he’s helping Rosneft express its discontent that a friendly minority shareholder has been exchanged for a Chinese one?

          None of those motivations seems consistent with promoting US interests.  Qatar is home to our Persian Gulf fleet, among other military and intel resources.  Orchestrating a regional boycott of it seems particularly irrational.

          • Rayne says:

            Hypothetical question: how would you launder ~$19.5 billion dollars and ensure you got both your cut and whatever your partners anticipated?


            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              I see your point but not the arithmetic.  Extort a nation state you depend on to support your regional occupying military, naval and intel ops, which provides the equivalent of billions in annual support, in order to facilitate a stock sale-cum-extortion payment that benefits your patron, but not the United States.  With motive and proof, that would make a nice indictment.

              But I don’t see the $19.5 billion calculation.  The 2016 Rosneft sale was for 19.5%.  Qatar and its partner sold 14.2% and retained 5.3%.  Proceeds were about 7.8 billion euro, most of which Qatar recycled to pay off “debt” to Italian and Russian banks, incurred to “finance” the original purchase from Rosneft.

              Chinese put up the cash, Qatar recycles the money to appropriate parties.  Qatar, in essence, gives up the holding and the money to end the boycott.  Nice story line. 

              It would not encourage Qatar to favor the United States, whose soldiers, sailors, and intel agents they host.  And it makes the US a Russian pawn, doing the Russian’s business instead of our own.  I hope Mr. Mueller is not close to being done.

              • Rayne says:

                Hmm. I need to go back and retrace the amount — I think it was first pegged on price of oil in the source I saw, so the value ~$19.5M = 19.5% may have fluctuated with market. Still have a ~massive~ amount of money to launder. I also don’t think the laundry worked in the order you’ve shown. More like Rosneft -> Glencore + Qatar sovfund ($11B here) -> CEFC China Energy (while Qatar retains a small stake and Glencore keeps rights to 220K bbl/day of oil) -> mystery -> Profit!

                At the end there must be near-liquid, easily convertible assets. My guess is cash out of the CEFC China Energy through Macau or Hong Kong. The transfer process above means no traceability through SWIFT.

                And maybe those visas Kushner fam were hawking in China were to mules who would kick up an adequate deposit as proof of integrity to the process while providing the imprimatur of legality for ease of transit. Wealthy investor class who can cough up $500K for a special visa are also high rollers in casinos around the world. Walk into Macau, win, take the chips to another casino in Hong Kong or Singapore, and presto — clean money.

            • Fran of the North says:

              Turn it into real estate of course. They ain’t making any more of it. And I’ve heard of at least two organizations that are willing to overlook ‘inconsistencies’.

              But I’m just a computer guy, so what the heck do I know?

  13. JAAG says:

    RE the new lexicon, lets do away with the “perjury trap”, and add the “liquidity trap”, a specific form of myopia afflicting this great family of failures.

    RE security clearances – I thin it was James Risen, in a Scahill intercept interview recently, who I heard say that the CIA did not prefer the new 36 yearold re-designer of Saudi Arabia, to ascend to the throne. In fact they had a lot of material and research preferring others in the family line.  I don’t know details because it was classified. Though I am no fan of CIA and Saudi “planning”, I do wonder – what kind of memo/research was Jared not allowed to see as he gallivanted over to rearrange Saudi society ten separate times.

    Similarly, Cohen and the FSB Ukrainian cutouts that collaborated on a new Ukraine/Crimea truce – this junior high mock-diplomacy exercise was in fact very real. What intel were they not reading in evaluating their interlocutors. Obv, same goes for Jared.

    There does not even have to be a quid pro quo for money to find that this diplomacy, conducted by the seat of brooks brothers pants, and without a CIA binder of secrets on your hip, is negligent at best.


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Perjury trap” was always a defense counsel’s emotive invention, intended to make the process seem unfair.  (It might be unfair, but not because the rules punish you for lying under oath or to a federal law enforcement officer.)

      When you see a bear trap in the middle of the path, don’t step in it.  If you can’t jump over or step around it, just stop.

      • sillybill says:

        Traps are usually disguised so the prey doesn’t see it. Lot’s of hunters working for Team Mueller, I’m sure they can properly camouflage a trap. ;-)

    • BootsMcMuffin says:

      I’ve often wondered if Jared is not allowed to see a lot of intelligence?

      The Kushner’s are notorious blackmailers, so why would the best blackmailers

      at the CIA allow the Kushner Crime family to have real access to classifieds?

      I also have wondered if the CIA/FBI is running Blue Dye Tests through Kushner?

      Make Kushner believe he is getting all of this classified information when in fact

      it’s dummy classified meant to track Jared and Charles Kushner’s criminal interactions?

  14. Christopher says:

    On a lighter note. Why not ConFraudRUs. LOL. If Dems increase constructive tension re: WH staffers in process now 14 month continued access to national secrets under pending “secret process” “security clearance”, asking when is “Enough” time for “secret process” “security clearance”. Secondly what are the consequences WH staffers have when “Enough” time has elapsed and applied for “security clearance” is not forth coming. Remember because the process of investigation an applicants background for “security clearance” is itself a secret you the un-cleared applicant will not be allowed to hear the words you don’t get a “security clearance” because that would be disclosing a secret. Rather the process of clearance is ongoing and someone like Kelly has to make up and enforce a timeline for WH staffers to be cleared or clear-out.

  15. dalloway says:

    Tried to leave this above, but “reply” is disabled. Sorry you take everything personally, bmaz. The comment wasn’t left to provoke, unlike your response. Won’t be seeing me here again.

    • matt says:

      Bmaz, if you scare away independents and legitimate dissenters… all you will be left with are cheerleaders and trolls.

      • bmaz says:

        Thanks for all your input. And, by the way, it has never been about “independents and legitimate dissenters”, it has always been about quack and stupid.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes, I did. And for good reason. If you have a problem with that, I’m sorry. But don’t waltz in here and think you are going to be the conscience of people that have been with each other for a very long time. Thanks, once again, for your input.

            • orionATL says:

              bmaz –

              matt has a good critique.

              i read dalloway’s comment several times. i did not see anything offensive. he raised a good question, basically, about how scotus would treat a conviction. just as i had earlier raised the unpleasant question (if i remember correctly) of whether a sitting president could be indicted or tried.

              did you really feel the need to whack him?

              people reading emptywheel read it for her clearheaded, well-researched advise, but your comments are part of the mix too. do you really feel the need to just have to tackle apparently well-intentioned commenters so harshly so often?

              • bmaz says:

                Dalloway’s comment was beyond ignorant legally in every regard. If he/she had bothered to read the content here over the last year and a half, maybe would know better. But it was a useless comment. And, like Matt, thanks for the input. If you think ignorant  bullshit is good commentary, sorry.

              • bmaz says:

                Also, my good friend Orion, so it is only about “Marcy’s clear headed thinking” that counts on this blog, eh? So, my posts here since the day the blog was founded, and those of Jim White, Rayne, Ed Walker, Quinn Norton and the sadly deceased Mary, were all worthless then? Is that your position? And you and “Matt” ought to decide how we police this enterprise? Well that is one hell of a position Orion. Thanks for all that you do, Orion.

                • orionATL says:

                  of course your posts and comments are valued here – even by me:); as are those of the other contributors. you really could not assume otherwise given my comments. but law is not my thing.

                  but emptywheel is the star and the face and voice of this weblog. people come here to read because of her.

                  my point about comments like that to dalloway is not that you have no grounds for making it (though i was not aware of any), but that the public face you put on this site with comments like that can turn readers off and scare off commenters. it is a public appearances issue i’ve been trying to talking about, not a bmaz issue.

                  you have every right to say what you please, when, but there is, i suspect, a growing public face of emptywheel. if so i further suspect that calm, but determined responses to trolls and obvious bullshitters beats fire and brimstone every time.

  16. TheraP says:

    I’ve got nothing substantive to contribute. But a couple of metaphors:

    This whole thing that Marcy is outlining could be called: “The Nutcracker Suite.”

    First I was thinking of Trump’s nuts in a vise. The nuts being Jarod and Ivanka. But now I see each player as “nuts in a vise” – Mueller being the vise. So, Jarod’s “nuts in a vise.” Junior’s “nuts in a vise” and so on.

    And the whole case, the wide net that’s being cast, and the huge conspiracy as “The Nutcracker Suite.”

    (I follow along as I can, especially since last Friday’s indictment. The Friday the 13th charges.)

    Just realized: Could be Nuts in Vice! Also.

  17. cfost says:

    To me, this line of explanation rings true. I had been thinking the players in this sordid affair are motivated by power. Seems it is more about money and looting via fraud. Come to think of it, that has been the post-Soviet model since 1982 for the old Party bosses-cum-oligarchs. This explains the behavior of Trump and Kushner, also Tillerson, Page, Flynn, et al; each in his own way and with his own unique details. It explains Trump’s strange self centered response to last week’s indictments. It explains why one rarely hears any of the players describe their actions as being in the service of America or of the American people. They do not, in their mind, serve us. We serve them, and they are here to manipulate and plunder us. Tillerson’s comments last week regarding his “meeting” with Erdogan, the lack of a US interpreter present, and his arrogant blow-off of the whole Russian sanctions topic, and his (the Secretary of State!) insistence that the President can declare war sans Congress, all point to this mindset.

    • BootsMcMuffin says:

      I totally agree.

      Kushner Crime family has demonstrated over and over again that their life is dedicated to looting, stealing and raping anyone in close proximity to amass as much money as possible, even going so far to blackmail their own family members to protect their money.

      Money is Kushner’s GOD. They will kill and destroy anyone to get it.

      The Kushner’s are truly despicable monsters.

      Pure Evil.

  18. Michael Keenan says:

    Could one use the necessity defense after shooting Kushner as a matter of National Security. Not my target as no one would ever be but just wondering. Could be called the Nutcracker Defense.

  19. Dc says:

    Marcy, I think you have synthesized this beautifully and are aligned with what seems the trajectory of where Mueller is headed. ConFraudUS sounds a lot like “Come, fraud us!”, which summarizes the ecstatic mind meld of the Russians with Trumpains and everyone else who was primed for this moment. I think you should trademark and hashtag ConFraudUs, and some derivatives, comma ratfucker, comma blowjob, comma asswipe.

  20. GKJames says:

    Fraud’s hard to prove in the best of circumstances. A fraud against the US? Half the country will insist it wasn’t harmed by misrepresentations that might have been made. How, then, to counter the charge that such a claim is essentially a political prosecution? A case based on the confluence, however seamless, between US foreign policy and private financial interests sounds like an indictment of someone for being American. Half of every administration’s foreign policy is about security and the other half shilling on behalf of US business. As for Kushner’s clearance, I don’t follow the blackmail-risk line of thought. Blackmail used to be effective when, say, the KGB went to a UK government official who also happened to be a closeted homosexual and said, Unless you cooperate, we’ll make sure the word gets out, at which point your career is toast. In contrast, Trump et al are, ironically enough, transparent: We’re open for business! As for past financial dealings with the Russians, wouldn’t it be unusual if the Feds didn’t already have a good idea of their nature? And, at this point, given the incoherence of US policy on Russia, what can we point to to suggest that policy is being driven by blackmail? A case can be made for it in relation to the president’s refusal to act on sanctions as required by Congress, but that’s not a Kushner clearance issue. Besides, what policy is Kushner in fact driving in any substantive fashion?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Kushner and his family are in debt that would sink a battleship.  It could bankrupt him personally and bankrupt his family business, and turn hundred millionaires into working stiffs dependent on Social Security and Medicare.  He might do a lot to avoid that outcome, some of it embarrassing or illegal.  Powerful actors who found out about that would not hesitate to use it, if it meant altering US Government policy in their favor.  How does that scan?

      • GKJames says:

        That may be true. And for all we know, Kushner’s aim (like his father-in-law’s?) is to avoid public disclosure of financial dealings that might trigger exposure on money laundering. But even there, prosecutors would need to prove that Kushner knew that the Russians he was talking to intended to use Kushner properties to launder ill-gotten gains. What we’ve seen to date, though, is self-styled sophisticates in way over their heads in the search for investors; the gullibility and ignorance about who they were dealing with on the Russian side have consistently been astounding, to the delight of the oligarchs, presumably. But the impact on US policy has been negligible. First, for the Kremlin, sanctions are the crux. Yet sanctions (albeit unenforced) remain in place. Second, Kushner’s been open about his readiness to use whatever cachet comes with being the president’s son-in-law to attract investors for his businesses. In theory, certainly, that could be used as leverage on policy. But there’s no evidence of quo for quid … yet.

    • orionATL says:

      i am glad to see the “blackmail issue” tackled head on. when bill clinton can go from jennifer flowers in ’92 to lewinsky in’ 98, and trump can go thru dozens of women not his wife, from fondling to fucking, it seems entirely specious these days for spying law enforcement to offer up “blackmail, dirty blackmail” as a potential threat to security.

      the only effective blackmail i can think of is for, say, the russians to use A as a spy, and the threaten to turn her in. but why would they do that?

  21. Palli Davis Holubar says:

    Was that an odd NYT expression or the absurdity of a staff person’s language? Kushner is “reluctant to give up” his clearance. It’s not his “to give up”. It could, would, should be “taken” away. Semantics are telling.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suspect the NYT chose that framing to make it seem as if Jared had status, power, a choice.  It’s not a framing that helps their readers understand the clearance process Kushner and others are subject to and which this White House has abused.  The NYT prefers the decorum of tea on the vicarage lawn.  Perhaps that’s because they’ve forgotten their Trollope or never read John Mortimer.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Jared has a choice of whether to stay because his father-in-law is the ultimate arbiter of who gets a clearance and what level of classified information they can see.  If Donald says he can stay and see classified material, he can stay.

        If Kelly were to force the issue, he would need a game plan for leaving himself in the event Trump rejected his advice.  So far, Kelly is publicly backing Jared, presumably because that’s what the president wants and the issue is not important enough for Kelly to resign over.

        Jared could leave for his own reasons, “to spend more time with his family”, for example, but his family is where he works, and leaving would be awkward if Ivanka wanted to stay.  Leaving daddy could be traumatic and expensive; he does not take rejection well.

        If Jared wanted to leave to spend more time on the family business, that would seem to be an own goal.  He can work on it from the White House, almost certainly does already, and he has more leverage to help it inside the White House than back in NYC.

  22. BootsMcMuffin says:


    Why is Jared holding on so tight to the WH?

    Why is it so important for him to be there?

    Is it pure grift? Personal profit?

    Observing the Kushner Family Values, they have demonstrated that their only concern is money and how much money they can pillage from anyone in close proximity including their own family.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Being inside the White House is a power trip.  It’s also great for the resume and great for marketing one’s business.  He’s also probably an important figure keeping the Trump Organization alive, which is where his wife’s money comes from. Her daddy is over seventy, overweight, and does not eat wisely, so there’s estate planning to consider, assuming one stays on his good side, wherever that is.

    He has a host of reasons to stay close to Donald and to be in the White House.  It would be a considerable embarrassment to leave it under a cloud because of matters discovered in a security clearance investigation.  That can be bad for marketing yourself and your company. Lenders, real estate profits are built on using someone else’s money, tend to frown on things that make you seem unreliable.

  24. posaune says:

    Hmmm . . . I never thought of Trump’s estate planning & will before. Seems like it would be the ultimate in chaos theory if contested.

  25. TheraP says:

    Thanks for the welcomes above! (I need to track down my previous registration info or reregister or I can’t “reply” directly. So, putting this here.)

    Re Kushner & White House – a thought – going back in time:

    There were certain people who survived the ‘camps’ by callaborating. Interestingly the word for that type of collaborator begins with the same letter as the family surname. “Identification with the Agressor” is another way of saying it. This may already have been discussed here. But it sure puts a spin on the family way of “doing business.” And may explain Kushner’s relationship with Trump & White House.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If “reply” doesn’t work, right click on it, open new tab.  “Leave A Reply” box will appear.  Add comment.  Enter.  It will magically appear in the right spot.

      I’d like to add my welcome. As Victor said to Rick, “Welcome back to the fight.  This time, I know we will win.”

  26. Galactus-36215 says:

    Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, became a board member of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (R.D.I.F.), Russia’s S.W.F. Last October, Q.I.A. made its second Russian investment to become a 25 percent stakeholder in St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport.

    In January, Q.I.A. made its biggest investment yet in Russia. In conjunction with U.K.-based Glencore, Qatar’s S.W.F. finalized its investment of $11.3 billion in Russia’s Rosneft for upstream projects, logistics, and global trading in the energy sector. The deal represents one-fifth of the Russian oil giant’s privatization portfolio.”


    Oddly enough, Al Thani also has connections to RDIF and the purchase of Rosneft shares mentioned in the Steele Dossier. The sale of Rosneft shares for 19.5% occurred on Dec 7, 2016. There are ~10.3M shares unaccounted for in this transaction where all the investors are not known.

    Here is the link to my recon of the share percentages recon showing 0.10% shares unaccounted for. The figures for Glencore and QIA are stated in several articles at the Financial Times.


    I strongly suspect that Kusher, who received his Deutche loan just 2 months before the close of the Rosneft deal may in fact be one of these unknown participants in the deal.

    • bmaz says:

      Do you have a point? Other than just posting cites?

      Seriously, what the heck do you even argue, and why should anybody here take it for anything other than bullshit without any explanation?

      The next time I see you propagate such inanity, I will bounce you. The readers here at Emptywneel deserve better than this type of horse manure.

    • Desider says:

      Galactus, you got the same “what’s your point?” response at the Intercept, so it’s not just Bmaz.
      This kind of speculation is a bit outside this blog – no one here’s digging into all the Cyprus Bank and Lithuania(?) and what-not; it’s stuff that’s been proven or moving thriugh court filings… including Deutsche Bank, which is past being an “if”.
      A 50m euro slush pot for Jared in an oil deal may come up, but it doesn’t come close to solving figures like $600m to keep 666 afloat, and it’s not like he’s going to turn 9 Rosneft deals between now and 2019, though sidling up to Saudi’s new prince boy wonder could easily net him $1 billion in a hurry – if he weren’t front page of aan administration up against the ropes – I doubt Prince MBS wants that kind of publicity, nor does he want his accounts examined by Robert Mueller, so I suspect the coulda beens will fade pretty quickly (though some huge nuke deal seems already rolling). This weird alliance of MBS w Israel, Russia, US and Iran seems to cut across recent geopolitics, but again, far from topic du jour @ EW.
      (PS – even if he gets 50m€ out of Rosneft, it’s not clear that it works against US interests, which seems the crux of Mueller’s betrayal and fraud thread, and harder to see what charges could be fiked – illegal moonlighting?)

  27. Galactus-36215 says:

    @Bmaz and @Desider,

    Sorry for lack of clarity. So here it is. The 19% sales of Rosneft shares that was mentioned in the Steele Dossier has actually happened. This deal went down on Dec 7, 2016 just two month after Kushner’s Deutche bank loan. That loan had what is know as a Bad Boy clause. Everyone assumes Kushner is telling the truth that this loan was used for his building at 666 because he is having financial difficulties. I believe he used the funds to fund participate in the Rosneft deal. That deal was then turned about and some of those shares (also purchased by QIA and Glencore) were sold to the Chinese. My first link shows the open amount of share % that was NOT sold to the Chinese. That deal has stalled. All this has been reported either through Reuters and/or the Financial Times.

    While Marcy and other seem to be focused on the 666 property, and the relationship of Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, they are also ignoring the fact that this same guy is also connected to the Rosneft deal. There is an alternate explanation that the whole Russia coverup is a cover up of Trump and Kushner is actually about this financial deal. Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani sits on the investment board of QIA and RDIF and has connections with Kushner.

    There is ~10.3M shares after the China purchase of Rosneft unaccounted for. That’s ~$60M USD. The sale to the Chinese was suppose to happen in late 2017, but it has been stalled. The entire Rosneft deal undermines US sanctions. It may be technically legal, but it defeats what the 2014 US sanctions were suppose to do which is starve the Russian government for money. Putin has ordered Rosneft to sell these shares and the proceeds went to fund the Russian government.




    Hope this help explain the ‘inanity’.

  28. Galactus-36215 says:

    @Bmaz and @Desider

    One of the things Meuller has on Manafort is not disclosing foreign bank accounts. It’s called FBAR. I know this process well because I file these filings for my company. It’s probably necessary for those laundering money to stash it in foreign accounts and simply not report it. The FBAR process is a voluntary process that you file with the government. We don’t know how much Kushner has in any unknown foreign accounts. That’s why Mueller had a no-knock warrant for Manafort. He wanted the bank records so he could find out where all the accounts were. Otherwise, he’s searching for a needle in a haystack. Same for Kushner.

    If Kushner is laundering money, he may well have lots of unlaundered funds out there to help refinance 666. But guess what, he needs to somehow launder it in a financial transaction to bring it into the US bank system so he can refinance 666.

    The Rosneft shares were sold to QIA and Glencore and TBD investors at a 5% discount and resold to the Chinese at a 16% preimium. Add to that any unlaundered amount and viola, he’s got some more funding for 666 along with his bank loans.

  29. Galactus-36215 says:


    One of the reasons this deal has stalled is because the US banks don’t know who all the investors are. I’ve shown that there is a 0.10% float out there belonging to someone other than the two claimed buyers Glencore and QIA after the sale to China. Pre-sale to China, that same float was 4.17% valued at ~2.2B euros.

    The CEO of Anbang was arrested just 3 months after he met with Kushner.

    Check my second link from my first post. That shows the math indicating a third party most likely is involved.

    I can’t find the original article where I read this, but it said banks were having a hard time with getting other banks to participate in the funding because they don’t know who all the investors are.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    From the second comment in this thread, from 21 Feb 18:

    Get ready for a Faux Noise extravaganza about why, under a GOP president, the security clearance process is deeply flawed and how complying with it should not hinder our Dear Leader in having whomever he wants advise and help him to Make America Great Again.

    From a 23 Feb 18 article at ThinkProgress, citing Donald Trump at his presser today with Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (emphasis mine):

    A week after his chief of staff ordered an overhaul of the process for granting White House security clearances, President Donald Trump on Friday blamed an overly rigorous background vetting process for holding up the approval of his son-in-law’s permanent security clearance.

    “It’s a broken system and it shouldn’t take this long,” said Trump.

    It is broken, Mr. President, and your administration did a lot of the damage. It’s taking this long because the FBI concluded that Jared Kushner has a past that should prohibit him from getting a clearance.  Nobody in your White House has the balls to tell you. And that’s probably true for many of the other 129 West Wingers with interim clearances, including Jared’s wife, Ivanka, daughter of Donald.

    Mr. Trump assured us at the presser, however, that he would not grant Jared – and presumably any of the other 129 interim clearance holders in the West Wing – an exception to keep him in the White House.  That would be up to COS Kelly.  The president then looked at the camera and promised his viewers that he had full confidence that General Kelly “would do the right thing for the country”.

    Donald Pass-the-Buck Trump.  Never takes responsibility.  Assumes it is the job of those working for him, along taking all the shit when Donald is wrong.  Like cleaning up after Trump and Stormy.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The WaPo emphasizes that Rosenstein told the White House – Don McGahn in Kelly’s absence – two weeks ago that there were still problems with Jared’s clearance.

      Security clearance experts said it is rare to have such a high level of interim clearance for such a long period of time.

      The WaPo puts Kelly’s opinion front and center:

      The move puts a “bull’s eye” on Kushner, a senior official told The Post last week.

      Kelly has told associates that he is uncomfortable with Kushner’s uncertain security clearance status and his unique role as both a family member and staffer, according to people familiar with the conversations. He has said he would not be upset if the president’s son-in-law and his wife, Ivanka Trump, left their positions as full-time employees.

      Will General Kelly do what’s right for the country?

      • TheraP says:

        For once, “what’s good for the country” and “what’s good for Kelly” may coincide.

        My take on this is to consider that Kelly is extremely arrogant and protective of his legacy. His Obituary.

        I’m guessing that should he decide Kushner can stay – with no hope of a security clearance and Mueller hot on his tail – Kelly would endure a daily martyrdom from many sides. Does he want that? And as the first line of his Obituary? Especially when Mueller indicts Kushner.

        So I’m guessing that Kelly would much prefer Trump’s ire, and a possible firing, to the daily martyrdom and bad first line of the obituary.

        Also, Trump is a wimp when it comes to firing. And he may be losing faith in Kushner, despite what he says to the press.

        Plus, how long till somebody, through FIA, gets ahold of the kind of questions Kushner asked of our intelligence services? We won’t get the intelligence answers, of course. But we could do a lot of speculating from his requests! (Also, did the intelligence agencies deliberately lard the “answers” with disinformation, so they could track if/where that info went? I suspect Mueller [and Rosenstein?] may know the answers!)

      • Trip says:

        Kelly is a Trump mini-me. He concurs with Trump’s misogyny, racism, general bigotry, and so on. He may not love Kushner or his wife, but he does love the position he has. He wants to stay to make Trump effective in his pursuits. I have no illusions about him being some man of honor, concerned about the good of the country.

        And now this:

        Mueller probe stymies Kushner security clearance

        This story only gives Trump more nonsense ammunition to challenge the process and investigation as unfair, because if not for Mueller and his ‘hoax’, Jared would get clearance. So does Trump start rumbling about firing people again?  Don’t forget, in the midst of all of this, he sends his debutante shoe hawker daughter to S Korea to talk about sanctions. Are you kidding me?  Did Kelly think that was a splendid idea, too?

        If he gets rid of Jarvanka, I will be shocked. You just know that they will replace them with people who are even worse, like maybe junior or the Gary Busey looking son.


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